Many things have changed in the roofing business since Tremco Incorporated began in 1928, but one thing remains steadfast: Tremco is still the Canadian leader in comprehensive roofing solutions.
When the business started in the early 1900s, the original owner, William C. Treuhaft, began with a small coatings manufacturing plant in Ohio. The company was able to outlast The Depression, and the company quickly grew into the Canadian marketplace. Tremco went public in 1964 and since then has been taken into the RPM family of companies, a global leader in specialty coatings serving industrial and consumer markets encompassing well-known consumer brand names such as Bondex, Rust-Oleum, Dryvit, and Carboline.
Tremco has expanded its original market reach to provide roofing restoration and repair services and materials. The company manufactures and markets construction sealants, adhesives, waterproofing systems, fire-stopping systems and a variety of custom-made products. The products provided by Tremco are divided into Roofing, Sealants, and Concrete ad-mixture divisions.
Tremco is really concentrated on providing an expanded suite of products of services to suit “the entire building envelope”, the company says.
Chris Knudson, Vice-President of Marketing for Tremco, and Paul Sheehy, Ontario Director, echo the company’s mission statement to deliver “roofing and weatherproofing peace of mind” for all aspects of roof installation and maintenance. Knudson says that the business naturally evolved from repairing roofs to going toward a more diverse business. “The business evolved into larger contracts, restoring and maintaining roofs so that customers didn’t have to tear off their roofs,” he explains, enabling Tremco to search out customers who wanted a longerterm product.
“Today we offer repair, restoration and even replacement. We really believe in solutions and providing them for our customers,” he adds. The focus for Tremco now is on an extended capacity of a roof, and the company’s customer base—building owners and managers in commercial and industrial sectors—appreciate a company like Tremco that can care for their assets and maintain the building’s life cycle.
Sheehy says that the company’s core focus is to bring to design professionals (architects and engineers) “long-term, environmentally-friendly roofing solutions—that is the main focus of our business”. Offering a sustainable product is not something that Tremco takes lightly. It has been building their sustainable approach for quite some time.
Sheehy says that it has been a slow process for people to “buy into the concept of sustainable roofing to the degree that we have offered a value proposition that extends the life of the roof—the cheap and cheerful way doesn’t work anymore.”
Knudson continues, “Safety costs and insurance costs have driven up the cost of roofing. The cheap alternative doesn’t exist anymore. All Tremco needed to do was narrow that cost gap so that people will gravitate to the higher quality product and roof.” Sheehy adds that Tremco customers are more informed than ever before on how they can reduce costs on their own operations “using products like reflective or vegetative roofing—there are a number of energy savings benefits.”
Tremco’s interesting roof solutions really speak to the future of sustainable building. Tremco vegetative roofs help manage storm water run-off, reduce operational costs, increase energy efficiency, improve air quality and can help a facility earn LEED certification.
The company has also capitalized on photovoltaic technology (PV) to produce PV systems that can reduce utility costs and “produce reliable, affordable green power” for all industries.
“There is a wellness aspect of making use of space that has previously been unused. And people are prepared to pay more knowing that there is a track record of success [with Tremco]. We can demonstrate that our roofs have been in place for a long, long time. With that comes longer term warranties,” Sheehy says.
The future of Tremco
Knudson says that the customer-centric, comprehensive approach has done the company well. “Our technicians are qualified to sit down with the customers and discuss the quality of the roof,” he explains, illustrating the importance of a skilled staff. It is Tremco’s approach to sustainability and their customer care that has undoubtedly led them to have their “best year yet” in 2010, and they say that 2011 will bring more of the same. “We’ve seen unprecedented growth,’ it’s been our best year in history,” Sheehy beams.
Both Knudson and Sheehy refer to the federal infrastructure capital that was injected into the Canadian economy and how it’s completion in March will likely have an impact on building projects. However, they say that “if we didn’t have them priming the pump we wouldn’t be talking about the year we’ve had.”
“It gave us a bit of a false economy. It gave us an advantage over our competitors—many significantly cut back Ontario sales and support staff, and tried to manage everything from south of the border. But we didn’t,” Knudson says. “When the economy got tough, architects and engineers couldn’t afford to have a problem on the job, so they went toward a safe harbour—we’ve been in business since 1928. When the going got tough they couldn’t call on those people who shut down,” he explains. The other benefit to going to Tremco is that the company manufactures in its own facilities.
“Even with the infrastructure money running out, we don’t hear a lot of gloom and doom in the marketplace,” Sheehy comments. Tremco is really in the right places at the right times. The company is getting more involved in the entire building envelope with design professionals and is developing more of a relationship with all divisions. “We’re a lot of complimentary industries in the umbrella of RPM, and we’re starting to work together,” he adds.
Working together is something happening right at the employee ground level for Tremco, also buying into the concept of sustainable business. “Our employees are buying into environmental programs—there is a real cultural change taking place,” Knudson states.
The company is associated with training programs and sustainable building projects, spreading its name further across the reach of the building industry.